Sunday, May 9, 2010

What is Yoga?

At the very moment my yoga mentor posed the question, What is Yoga?, I noticed the smallest of creatures, an ant, I think, crawling around on the hardwood floor. He crawled to the right and then to the left of my mat. As I watched him, all I could think about was how tiny his body parts are....a mouth I'd need a microscope to see, a miniature eye, teeny weeny legs, an itty-bitty ant heart pumping fluid throughout his little bug body!

What is Yoga? was the question presented last night during my monthly yoga teaching training seminar. I answered that it is believing in something bigger than myself. I added, “It’s understanding the big picture without getting hung up in the minutia.” Others answered that it is the breath, prana, energy.... When I began my yoga training some 5 years ago I would have answered, “Yoga is about getting into downward dog, making sure my heels are flat on the ground and learning how to breathe using the 3-part breath.” I knew nothing about yoga then and I know a little about yoga now. Without a doubt, the physical moves and learning about my breath are essential components of yoga. But to me, now, yoga is really about how I am in my life. Am I kind, centered, self-aware, mindful, organized, disciplined, generous or am I not? Do I take care of my body and my home and those around me or not?

Today I was reading the Bhagavad-Gita again (one of the texts we study in training). The warm and wonderful sun was shining through my bedroom window. As I lay on my bed engrossed in the story of Arjuna's enlightenment, I thought again about that tiny little ant crawling around the yoga room on this and then that side of my purple yoga mat. If there is a God I like that idea that he or she is everywhere (as the Bhagavad-Gita tells it) and in that I think I would change my answer to What is Yoga? Today I might answer, "Yoga is like this little ant. I am like this little Ant. We are both alive and connected to one another, as are all living things. And yoga, for me, is about being present enough to notice the tiny little insect with it’s tiny little beating heart, circumnavigating my yoga mat as I sit in a group of budding yogis pondering the deep meaning of yoga." Yoga and the Ant......the latest book on yoga philosophy! Coming soon :P

No comments:

Post a Comment